The Highest-Paying
IT Careers: 2021 List

Information technology (IT) has come a long way. From using our phones to check emails to organizing video conferences over cloud-based software, information technology is a huge part of our day-to-day lives. Once you learn information technology, you can enter an IT career.

The demand for these professionals is rising every year. If you choose to pursue a career in IT, you will find many open doors and lucrative opportunities. This guide will cover the best IT careers in 2021 to help you pursue a career in tech.

What Is IT?

Information technology (IT) refers to everything businesses use computers for. This field includes building communications networks for clients, creating and administering databases, safeguarding data, and helping employees troubleshoot issues with computers.

IT is the application of technology to solve organizational and business problems on a larger scale. All members of an IT department work to solve problems related to technology. Because the field is so broad, there are many jobs in information technology.

IT Job Outlook and Salary Potential

The job outlook and salary potential for this field are quite high. The Bureau for Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that employment in information technology occupations will grow by 11 percent from 2019 to 2029. This number is almost three times the occupational average of about four percent.

The BLS also predicts that 500,000 new information technology jobs will be created in that time. The demand for these experts will come from the growing emphasis on cloud computing, information security, and big data storage. In the same report, the BLS says that the median annual wage for IT jobs is $91,250.

At a Glance: Highest-Paying IT Careers

Due to how broad the field is, there are many high-paying IT careers with growth potential. The information about the top 10 IT careers in the table below was obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and PayScale. Job growth statistics refer to the expected number of new occupations between 2019 and 2029.

Job Title Projected Job Growth Median Pay
Information Systems Security Manager 10% $151,150
Data Scientist 15% $126,830
Data Architect 5%* $121,239
Network Architect 5%* $116,780
Application Architect 5%* $116,747
Data Security Analyst 31% $103,590
Database Manager 10% $98,860
DevOps Engineer 22%** $96,427
Big Data Engineer 22%** $92,568
Mobile Application Developer 22%** $72,955

*Job growth has been sourced from BLS data on computer network architects
**Job growth has been sourced from BLS data on software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers

The Best IT Careers: 2021 List

The Best IT Careers: 2021 List

If you want to enter the growing field of information technology, you should choose your career wisely. There are many different options based on your skills, interests, and experience. Below are in-depth explanations of the best IT careers listed above.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology

The information systems security manager helps manage an entire information security department. They also assess the organization’s security measures like passwords, anti-virus software, and firewalls. These experts analyze the reports they generate to identify potential risks.

Information systems security managers are responsible for managing security systems and backup systems, overseeing violation investigation, and recovering data when there is a breach. They often carry out simulated attacks to test the security measures in place. These experts also provide training for other employees and explain security risks.

Min. Education Required: Master’s Degree in Computer Science or Data Science

Data scientists are responsible for collecting data and reporting their findings. The data is used to influence how organizations approach business challenges. These experts have a strong foundation in mathematics, computer science, algorithms, and human behavior.

They interpret data, identify problems, and come up with viable solutions. Data scientists combine computer science, statistics, and analytical skills to extract information from data so that businesses can find hidden revenue streams and streamline efficiency. To become a data scientist, you should ideally have a master’s degree.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science or Information Technology

Data architects are responsible for creating, designing, deploying, and managing the data architecture of an organization. They define how data is stored, consumed, managed, and integrated by different IT systems and data entities or any application that processes data.

The experts ensure that the data assets of the organization are in line with the data architecture and goals of the business. Also, data architects maintain metadata registries, optimize databases, and oversee data management. They are skilled at data modeling, data strategy, data policies, data querying languages, and data warehousing.

Min. Education Required: Master’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology

Network architects, or cloud architects, are IT specialists that develop the computing strategy of a company. The strategy includes cloud application design, adoption plans, monitoring, and management.

This expert assists with everything that concerns cloud environments, like the private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud. The network cloud architect understands an organization’s cloud architecture and designs dynamic solutions.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology

These experts are responsible for designing and analyzing software projects. They create fresh applications, improve existing applications, develop product prototypes, run software tests, and create technical manuals and documents that relate to app development.

Applications architects evaluate application technologies and recommend the best uses for the organization. They are involved in training members of the team on software development and programming. The experts also produce documents that relate to design steps, application architecture, testing procedures, and integration processes.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science, Computer Science, or Information Technology

Data security analysts protect the organization’s networks and systems. They stand between company networks and hackers and are responsible for security programs. Data security analysts are sometimes known as network security analysts or information security analysts.

Security programs protect sensitive data with data encryption technology and firewalls. However, they need to be updated from time to time to get rid of bugs and add fresh features. The data security analyst handles this. The main goal of data security analysts is to make sure systems are equipped to remain safe from hackers.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science, Computer Science, or Information Technology

Database managers handle basic data management functionalities, such as creating and maintaining databases. These experts are also responsible for backing up, restoring, detaching, creating, cloning, deleting, and renaming databases.

These experts manage remote and local databases. They also handle administrative roles like managing tables and running ad hoc queries. If you’re interested in database management, you can also learn how to become a database administrator.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology

DevOps engineers introduce tools, processes, and methodology to the software development process. The career covers coding, deployment, maintenance, and update processes for software engineering. This field is mainly about the automation and unification of the development process.

These experts are similar to the IT operations team, but their goals differ. The operations team preserves the stability of applications when they are released, while DevOps engineers introduce new features to said applications. The tasks all rely on understanding DevOps culture, practices, philosophy, and tools.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science, Computer Science, or Information Technology

Data engineers find trends in datasets and develop algorithms that make raw data more useful. This role requires technical skills like a working knowledge of multiple programming languages and SQL database design.

These experts should also have good communication skills because they work across different departments. Data engineers are responsible for developing algorithms that give the organization access to raw data. They typically work in large companies that handle complex databases and datasets.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology

Mobile application developers have a working knowledge of all the different kinds of platforms for tablets and smartphones. This job is quite flexible, and many mobile application developers can choose to work remotely. Some work at their own IT firms, where they offer IT solutions to clients.

Mobile developers are good at programming and should know common languages like Java, C++, HTML, Objective-C, and PHP. The experts work with engineers and computer analysts to apply software development languages in creating and developing applications.

What Education Do I Need to Pursue a Career in IT?

For an information technology career, you should have at least a bachelor’s degree. You can start with computer engineering, computer science, information technology, or information technology management. Some careers might also require a data science degree or certificate.

These bachelor’s programs take four years to finish and often cover topics like risk assessment, IT system analysis, information security, data networking, and computer administration. IT specialists often have higher academic qualifications. If you want to reach this level, you may need to pursue higher education by pursuing a master’s degree.

Suitable programs for these graduate degrees include technology management and information technology. Both degrees widen your perspective in IT and train you for real-life situations. You can also attend an online coding bootcamp for extra education.

Common Entry-Level IT Jobs

There is a high demand for tech workers today. This has led to attractive salaries for people in the field and a wide range of career paths to follow. There are many entry-level IT roles you can start with. Below is a description of a few entry-level IT jobs, complete with entry-level pay sourced from PayScale.

Software Developer

Entry-Level Pay: $63,337

This job involves building applications using languages like C++ and Java. Software developers also fix bugs and handle the deployment of the software. Entry-level software developers often work in a team or under a supervisor.

Database Administrator

Entry-Level Pay: $56,022

The database administrator role includes improving performance, managing permissions, and testing modifications. These experts collaborate with app development teams and information systems managers to meet the needs of the organization they work for.

Systems Administrator

Entry-Level Pay: $51,356

Systems administrators handle the daily management, configuration, and upkeep of business computer systems. They install laptops, desktops, servers, and cyber security systems. They are also responsible for developing local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs) to connect computer groups.

Technical Writer

Entry-Level Pay: $49,840

These experts create documentation related to company products, services, and processes. Technical writers are needed when the organization needs to explain its processes on paper. If you have good communication skills and want to enter the tech industry, this job is a great choice for you.

Quality Assurance (QA) Analyst

Entry-Level Pay: $47,767

Quality assurance analysts are crucial to the software development process. They are responsible for testing websites or games before they are deployed. They use test plans and tools to find bugs or any other inconsistencies that should be reported and fixed before the product release date.

Can I Study IT Online?

Yes, you can study IT online with ease. Many institutions have online programs that give you the option to attend remotely. The programs are designed to be flexible so that you can learn at your own pace. You don’t need to spend money on transportation or alternative housing. Some schools also have accelerated programs to help you finish quickly.

Another option for studying IT online is coding bootcamps. These intensive programs allow you to study IT topics without having to complete a four-year degree. These bootcamps can save you both time and money. You can attend one of the best C# bootcamps, data science bootcamps, or project management bootcamps.

Should I Pursue an IT Job?

Yes, you should pursue an IT job. Information technology is a great choice if you want to be a part of a growing sector with many job opportunities and career paths to follow. If you have a flair for computers, you should pursue an IT job. It can offer you job security and a lucrative salary in return.

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